274. Canned Feud – Friz Freleng

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: Sylveser finds himself trapped in the house with only canned food and no can opener.

WHY IT’S HERE:Friz Freleng’s ‘Canned Feud’ is a wonderful solo Sylvester cartoon. I always preferred Sylvester either on his own or paired with anyone but Tweety and this is one of his finest solo performances. Warren Foster’s script has the inspirational twist of making a cat and mouse cartoon where the mouse is the bad guy. Sylvester does nothing to deserve the emotional and physical pummeling he gets in ‘Canned Feud’ and that somehow makes the experience all the more delicious. We share in Sylvester’s desperation as he finds himself locked in the house for a fortnight with only canned food to eat, only to discover that a smug mouse has taken the only can opener. Like many of Freleng’s best cartoons, ‘Canned Feud’ is extremely high-energy. Rather than start out slightly worried and build into a frenzy as the cartoon progresses, Sylvester starts at frenzy and builds to complete mental collapse. It’s a classic performance by the cat, a masterclass in the art of animated physical comedy. A few fairly standard jokes are given new life by virtue of Sylvester’s crazed desperation and there are tons of brilliantly original gags too. The axehead joke is one of my all-time favourites, so beautifully simple and perfectly timed. ‘Canned Feud’ is a Freleng masterpiece: a hysterical, frantic, claustrophobic study of obsessive desperation and unnecessary cruelty that just pulsates with energy. Up there with Freleng classics such as ‘Yankee Doodle Daffy’ and ‘Kit for Cat’.

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